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Potential starting XI for 2022/23

Manchester United are set for a huge summer of rebuilding as new manager Erik ten Hag looks to stamp his authority on an underperforming squad.

United endured their worst league season point-wise since 1989/90 as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked and Ralf Rangnick struggled in his interim position.

But with a new boss in the Old Trafford dugout, there is fresh hope for Red Devils fans as the club looks to become a prominent force in the Premier League again.

Here’s how they could line up in the 2022/23 season.

Not many United players have come out of the 2021/22 season with much credit, but David de Gea‘s stock at Old Trafford remains high. His presence between the sticks has harmed Dean Henderson‘s starting XI chances and it was little surprise to see him join Nottingham Forest.

Lee Grant has retired and another keeper would be good as it remains to be seen whether Tom Heaton is a capable number-two at age 36.

United’s defence is an area that needs major restructuring.

Many at the club are unconvinced by both Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Diogo Dalot, meaning a new right back could arrive. The Red Devils have been offered the chance to sign Sergino Dest, the Barcelona defender who came through at Ajax under Ten Hag.

In central defence, Raphael Varane will remain part of the side, while Harry Maguire is unlikely to move on. However, Pau Torres is on the club’s radar and is someone who could provide the England international with competition.

Torres is not Ten Hag’s top target, though. That honour goes to Lisandro Martinez, who is currently at Ajax.

Luke Shaw is expected to sign a new contract, with his current deal set to expire in 2023 and his new number-two is likely to be Tyrell Malacia.

Bruno Fernandes was United’s most creative midfielder in 2021/22 and will remain a regular part of the team. However, regulars Fred and Scott McTominay – AKA ‘McFred’ – could fall down the pecking order under Ten Hag. Donny van de Beek could be a beneficiary under his old Ajax boss.

Declan Rice is United’s top transfer target in central midfield, but it’s unclear whether the will be able to pay more than £100m for one player. There have also been strong links with Frenkie de Jong, and that deal ultimately feels more realistic at this stage.

Paul Pogba,Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic have already announced their exits. Jesse Lingard has also departed on a free transfer.

Leicester star Youri Tielemans is on the radar and academy graduate James Garner could be given an opportunity in the squad after an impressive campaign in the Championship with Nottingham Forest.

Listen to The Promised Land, 90min’s Manchester United podcast. On this episode, Scott Saunders and Rob Blanchette discuss links with RB Leipzig star Christopher Nkunku, the latest on Frenkie de Jong and the explanation of Erik ten Hag’s appointment from the club’s hierarchy.

There remains uncertainty over the future of Cristiano Ronaldo after United’s failure to qualify for the Champions League. Edinson Cavani‘s injury-riddled stint with the club has also come to an end.

Anthony Martial wants a permanent departure after joining Sevilla on loan in January, but Marcus Rashford is planning a big pre-season to make up for a tough 2021/22 campaign.

Jadon Sancho and Anthony Elanga are strong candidates to take the spots on the wing, having impressed in patches recently. Among United’s other targets up front are Ajax’s Antony.


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